Everyday Mom's Meals
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Sunday, January 16, 2022

I Am Freezing

 It's winter in Indiana. I get it. It's going to be cold. I'm almost 41 years old,  I've lived here all my life and I'm well aware of just how frigid it is going to get. But guess what, that doesn't stop me from complaining about it every. single. year. 

I love the fact I still live 15 minutes from where I grew up. I am thankful we are so close to family and my boys get to grow up with their grandparents and loved ones near by. (My grandparents were 6 hours away in PA when I was little, so I know just how lucky we are.) But there are days, when the cold is so brutal it takes your breath away, I do say to myself "Why do I live in a place where my face hurts?" Then I crank the heat and get on with my day. 

On the days when it's especially cold, do you find yourself even more exhausted when you get home? I don't know if it's a mental thing, or maybe when you finally get home and can put on some fuzzy slippers and cozy clothes you just hit a wall, but if I have been out in the face-hurting cold during the day, I am extra tired by the time supper rolls around.

On these days all I want is something warm, something quick and something delicious. Of course soup is the first thing to mind; and 9 times out of 10 I will have my slow cooker working on something all day long so I have to do almost nothing when it's time to eat, but what if I told you that you can have a tasty bean soup, cooked on the stove top and on the table in about 30 minutes? Think it's impossible? Think again! 

This Butter Bean Soup is one I've been making since we were newlyweds, almost 19 years ago! I saw it in a Taste of Home Magazine and was immediately intrigued because I loved butter beans. Plus, my cooking skills were not up to par yet, and using canned beans sounded so much easier than pre-soaking and slow cooking. Oh, and I worked out side the home at that point, so supper was something I had to do quick when we both got home and starving. 

I love that this soup is so veggie friendly. You can use whatever you have in the crisper drawer and even frozen ones if that's all you have. Sautéing the veggies first really help to develop their sugars, adding the flavor. Boxed broth or stock gives in a depth of flavor you can normally only find in soups that have cooked all day; but I guarantee this one will fake everyone out! 

If you are a planner, you could even chop the veggies the night before so they are ready to go when you get home. This is a great one to have beginner cooks start with too. Maybe the kids are old enough they start supper before you get home. ( I used to do this all the time for my mom when she worked.) Add some crusty bread or cheese and crackers and dinner can be on the table in about a half hour!

I am a very hot blooded person. So if I say I'm freezing, you know it's cold! Wintertime in Indiana means many things to Hoosiers, but for this girl it means whining a little, and cooking soup... a LOT!

 


Butter Bean Soup 

3 celery ribs, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 medium zucchini, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 (32 oz) boxes chicken broth

3 TBS vegetable oil

2 (15 oz.) cans baby butter beans, drained

3 TBS flour

1 tsp. dried basil

salt and pepper 

In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion, celery, carrot and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add flour, cook and stir for 1 minute. Gradually add broth stirring until smooth. Add butter beans and basil. Adjust seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes or until slightly thick.

 



 

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Take The Help When You Can

 You will never hear me being critical of anyone who has a shopping cart with convenience ingredients inside of it. I think we all need to take a little help where we can and if getting supper on the table means using a box rice mix, I say go for it! 

For our house taking some help from the store now and again doesn't bother me because I know my kids are still getting plenty of fresh meat, veggies, fruits....a well balanced diet. So that can of condensed soup, frozen chicken nuggets, box of macaroni and cheese occasionally doesn't haunt me. 

But let's talk about what the real tragedy is. The fact there are people in this country who are limited to processed, boxed foods because that is all they can afford. They would love to buy some fresh meat and produce, but the prices make it so they have to choose between that and paying the heating bill. So, they do what they can with what they have. 

For me, using these types of foods is a choice and that is why I will never judge those that is is a necessity. We have to do a better job in this country of making fresh, healthy food as budget friendly as the stuff we are constantly told isn't good for us. Every single person deserves to have access to better nutrition choices.

Okay, rant over. Let's talk about this recipe. Yes, it uses jarred Alfredo sauce. Can I make homemade? I sure can. I have a very easy, and delicious recipe for it; but for this recipe it's about a convenience factor for those extra busy nights. This flavorful sauce comes together in the time it takes the pasta to cook. We love it with penne, but it would be just as yummy with linguine, angel hair or even bowties. 

If you need a little help from the store to make sure your family is fed and full after a long day, don't apologize for it. In the past 2 years I think we've all learned a little more how scary empty shelves can be, and we can appreciate a meal, in whatever capacity it comes a little more. Use the jarred spaghetti sauce, make the casserole with condensed soup, heat up some frozen fish sticks...and then try to add some extra freshness in the next day's meal! 


 Creamy Marinara Sauce
2 lbs. penne pasta, cooked and drained
2 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes, drained well
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes with basil and oregano, undrained
2 (15 oz.) jars Alfredo sauce
1 cup milk
1 TBS olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

While pasta cooks, in a large skillet over medium heat, sauté garlic in olive oil for 1 minute. Add undrained diced tomatoes. Stir well. After 3 minutes, add Alfredo sauce, milk and petite diced tomatoes. Bring to a bubble. Reduce heat, add seasonings and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring often. When pasta is cooked, drain well. Return pasta to hot pot. Add about half the sauce to hot pasta and stir well. Top individual portions of pasta with more sauce.


Shared at Weekend Potluck

Sunday, January 2, 2022

20 Minute Side Dish and New Floors

 As of November, we have owned this house for 19 years. What started out as our "starter home" we would only be in for a few years, has become the place we've built our life. We came here as newlyweds after our honeymoon, where both of our boys came home from the hospital to, and the place Adam recovered after PE in both lungs almost took him from us 7 years ago. These four walls have seen countless birthdays, holiday celebrations, special moments, tears from sorrow...the list goes on and on. 

So why did we end up staying here so long? The simple answer is life. I could go deeper, but we will just leave it at that. But we are finally at a place where we can start to do some things we've wanted to for a very long time, as far as fixing things up a little goes. 

Back in September my dad, along with the hubby's help, laid new vinyl flooring down in our kitchen, forever covering the circa 1970's green linoleum. As I told someone, after almost two decades, I finally had a kitchen floor I loved. 

Then in November, just before Thanksgiving, it was the bathroom's turn. My dad spent a week replacing the tile flooring with beautiful vinyl plank wood; and it is beautiful! 

I can't tell you how much I love walking into both of these rooms now, not only because they are gorgeous, but because they are filled with love. They were truly a family project and I am so grateful dad could take the time and execute what I had dreamed of.

So what does new flooring have to do with this recipe? The day I tested this simple side dish, my dad was knee deep in flooring, trim and paint in the bathroom. I offered him some for lunch, and without any words I knew the dish was 100% successful. His eyes and noises as he chewed said it all. 

Take advantage of the frozen pierogies and this delicious side dish can be on your table in about 20 minutes! I served it with smoked sausage, but it would be so tasty with pork chops, ham, chicken, or burgers. 

Pierogies have quickly becomea favorite dish in our house, after I first started making them just a couple years ago. We love them as is, just sautéed in a little butter, in casseroles or finished off with yummy toppings like this dish.

These are inspired by what we all love on a loaded baked potato. Bacon. Cheese. Green onions. Did I mention bacon? Served with a little sour cream on the side and all the flavors are there!

Loaded Pierogies are not only a simple weeknight side dish, but you could absolutely put out a big platter of them at your next party or game day bash. The Super Bowl will be here before you know it and any football fan would love some pierogie nachos! 

My new flooring is beautiful and makes me smile daily. I share this story with you to show even if things take years to get done, keep working towards the goal. Don't lose sight. Try not to get discouraged. Sometimes the best things come to those who wait! 


Loaded Pierogi Skillet 

1 (16 oz.) box frozen cheese pierogi

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 (2.5 oz) bag real bacon bits

2 green onions chopped

2-3 TBS butter 

In a large skillet over melt butter over medium high heat. Saute pierogies in butter for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Sprinkle with cheese, bacon and onions. Cover. Reduce heat to low for 5 minutes until cheese begins to melt. Serve immediately.

Shared at Weekend Potluck


Sunday, December 26, 2021

The Week Between

The next 7 days are sure to be a little foggy, kind of run together and always have us saying "What day is it?" For some reason that week between Christmas and New Year's always causes a little confusion. Kids are still out of school, many are off work, holiday guests are still hanging out- all of this is a recipe for not knowing if we are coming or going and having no clue what the date on the calendar is! 

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas filled with love, peace and joy. Our family was very blessed this year to be together, enjoy our traditions and of course have some very lovely gifts. 

If you're anything like me, you've got leftovers in the fridge, presents to put away and housework to catch up on. The weekly meal plan isn't made and heading to the grocery store is the last thing you want to do. However, if you've got family visiting through the new year, you need to come up with something to feed them!

In our house breakfast for supper is a weekly thing; and I'm always looking for ways to keep it new and fresh. I don't want to fall into an eggs or pancakes rut. "Brinner" is a great way to get a filling meal on the table that is also easy and budget friendly. Heck, the week I developed this recipe the boxes of frozen waffles were on sale for $.99! That is like finding money! 

If you've got extra mouths to feed this week, this fun and yummy meal will definitely help with the grocery bill. Or, if you're planning on a New Year's Day brunch, these are a new tradition to start! 

Frozen waffles are used as the tostada base with eggs, ham and white country gravy on top! It's like a great diner breakfast plate all in one bite! Serve them with some fresh fruit and you've got a full meal deal! 

I wish you all very happy and healthy New Year. May we all have good things in 2022; and maybe, just maybe a little extra human kindness can be included in all of our resolutions.


 

Waffle Tostadas

8 frozen waffles

8 slices cheddar cheese

8 eggs

8 slices deli brown sugar ham

3 TBS flour

3 TBS butter

2 cups milk

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

5 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced 

Preheat oven to 400. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour in milk, slowly, whisking constantly. Once mixture bubbles, reduce heat to low and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper. Keep warm and continue with recipe. 

Bake waffles on rimmed baking sheet for 5-8 minutes. While cooking, prepare eggs how you like. Once waffles are cooked, top each with a slice of cheese and return to oven for 1-2 minutes to melt. Once melted, top each with a slice of ham and egg. Pour gravy over top. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and diced tomatoes. Garnish with chives if desired.

 

Shared at Weekend Potluck


Sunday, December 19, 2021

Merry Christmas And After

 Full disclosure: I totally dropped the ball on a traditional EMM Christmas post this year. Now, a few weeks ago I did share my Crock Pot London Broil which would be a terrific new Christmas dinner tradition, but I don't have anything holiday inspired for this week like I normally would. 

Time just got away from me. Between the normal hustle and bustle of the holiday season to helping the teenager study for finals (which he rocked by the way) to simply trying to keep up with every day life, I wish I had a fantastic new Christmas dessert or dish to share with you, but alas I don't. 

What I do have is a tasty soup that would be perfect post holiday! Once the leftovers are gone, and you are tired of cooking, this delicious soup can be on your table in about 30 minutes. Perfect for a cold night between Christmas and New Year's. Plus, it will feed a crowd, so if a few holiday house guests are hanging out a bit longer, you've got that covered too.

I love the fact this is doesn't have any meat in it, but if you have some ham in the fridge come December 26th, that would be delicious. Oh, and if you want it 100% meat free, a vegetable stock could be swapped for the chicken broth, no problem! Great if you have some vegetarians coming to stay! 

Slow cooker soups are a go-to for me during the winter months, but some days you need something quick. Stove top soups can taste just as good as the ones that cook all day, you just have to infuse as much flavor as possible in a short amount of time. Sautéing the veggies at the beginning helps to do just that. Plus the chicken broth/stock brings another layer of flavor. 

I felt bad when I went to my draft folder today to choose which recipe to post. I didn't have anything festive; but then I decided it doesn't matter. What I do have to offer is my sincere, heart felt wish for a very Merry Christmas to you and yours. May the love that came down that most precious night, lying in a manger, surround you and fill your heart with joy. From my family to yours, may the Christmas spirit fill your home and your life long after the presents are opened. 

 

 

Creamy Corn Soup

1lb. frozen corn

4 ribs celery, finely chopped

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

4 TBS butter

2 TBS flour

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

2 tsp. dried parsley

8 cups chicken broth

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups half and half 

Dried chives for garnish

Salt and Pepper

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium high heat. Sauté celery, onion and garlic in butter until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in thyme and parsley. Sprinkle with flour.  Cook and stir another 2 minutes. Stir in corn and potatoes. Add broth, half and half, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.Reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes until potatoes are tender. Garnish with dried chives if desired.

 

Shared at Weekend Potluck